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Light a what?!

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Charc, Oct 6, 2007.

  1. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    So even though I've known this for awhile I didn't quite realize until today that in exactly a week I'll be lighting a dance. Not dance, a high school dance :rolleyes:. So I'm basically totally over my head. I never quite considered lighting a dance before. Here is my understanding. My job is to support the DJ in the creation of atmosphere. Atmosphere is very important in this type of setting as it can make or break the event. Overhead HID gym lighting won't cut it. So here is what I have to work with:

    >1 20A circuit to be shared between sound and lighting.
    Possibly more, but I don't have a circuit map. The maintenance guy seemed to say there were multiple circuit, but I'm not positive. So for now I'm moving with the assumption I have around 10 amps.
    >2 PAR48 200W WFL
    >2 PAR48 200W NSP
    >1 4ch Dimmer Pack
    >1 8x2 ADJ light board, capable of preprogrammed patterns etc.
    >9ft Stand

    I might be able to get my hands on:
    >2 Motorhead 250W Moving Head DJ lights.
    >1 Moving Light Board
    >"Effect lighting" such as strobes, beacons, spinning color balls, of an undetermined number and variety.
    >Party type fog machines, quantity, wattage and quality undetermined

    My plan as of now --assuming I'll have enough power and be able to get everything on the second list-- is to put the PARs on the stand directly behind the DJ, aiming WFLs close and NSPs far. I'd then mount the moving head lights on booms 6 feet to either side of the stand. I'm not sure what I'd gel the PARs with yet. The night would start out with essentially static lighting. Then it would start to flash and bump irregularly during a fast song, on a preprogrammed pattern. I'd then select separate preprogrammed patterns for different type of songs, depending on their speed/intensity. (Essentially all hip-hop music, so I don't think there will be any "slow dances".) I'd start up the foggers, and they'd slowly crank away until a patchy haze effect was established. Soon thereafter the movers would start up, in another flashy move of brilliance. Coming on the ceiling first with some movement, until sweeping onto the dance floor. I'd, again, preprogram some looped patterns, and vary them up for the different songs.

    That is in essence my plan. I feel bad for clogging up CB with my entire production concept, but seeing as this is my first attempt at dance lighting, I'd like to get some review. I'm not sure if there are any DJ style resources, though I did find some tutorial type videos on youtube, which I've watched.

    From a technical standpoint I think I've got it all under control, unless the board is really obscure and I can't find a manual online. I need to check with maintenance about fire detectors in the gym, and if they'll allow fog. It has been done at every previous dance, but being me, I think I'll check ;). So assuming I can get my hands on those moving lights, it looks like my main problem is production concept, and making sure I'm not hurting the atmosphere rather then enhancing it.

    Does anyone have any experience in this type of "DJ Lighting" and limited technology and tools? Is there any advice or dos and dont's that would be useful?

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2007
  2. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    My advice: get your hands on as much of the moving lights package and effects package as you can. Figure out how to lay out the dance floor. You'll probably want to have one area that is a bit higher energy (more moving and effects), and another area that doesn't have as much "in your face" lighting. I've found that this works well. You'll get people in the room to kinda split - so that those that really want to go at it like mad rave beasts can over in the high energy side close to the lights, and those that are just kinda chill can just kinda chill in an area that isn't super-dark but isn't out of the room. That's how I've done it before, it works well. And, as you said, you also want it to get more intense as the night goes on. Don't go out of the gates with all guns blazing. Oh, but with that, you've already blown your 10amp allotment. If you have to, run cable from another area of the building.
     
  3. kwotipka

    kwotipka Active Member

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    Two main things first:

    1) Will the smoke upset the fire system. This could bring more excitement to the night then you planned for.

    2) Exactly how much power do you have, where does it come from (circuit panel) and will the janitor / maintainance worker leave it unlocked during the dance. Otherwise, you may end the party before you would like. A smoke machine will be about 1200W on the heating element. With the pars and "DJ" lights you have another 1300W so right there you are busted on a 20A circuit.

    Having done my share of "proms" and a few years in club lighting, you seem to have access to what most small time clubs have. The only problem is that you will not have the haze of the booze to make your show look better. If this is in a gym, I have had luck mounting lights from the goals. Be careful that whatever you mount is secure and doesn't damage the backboards.

    I have always had my best luck even with 4 channels of PAR36s "bumping" the lights to the beat of the music instead of just letting them run some random, out of sync, patterns. This also helps to pass the time.
     
  4. SerraAva

    SerraAva Active Member

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    I agree with soundlight that you should try and split areas. Have high energy and hang out areas. Not everyone is going to want stuff so in there face all the time. Also, 10 amps is not a lot. Diffenently find out if you can get more. Haze will also add a great atmosphere. Diffenantly go for some movers in your high energy areas.

    250w is more then enough for movers a dance, Track Spots and Techno Beams would work great, better then moving heads because moving heads just don't move as fast as mirror fixtures movement wise. The other nice part is moving mirrors should be cheaper to rent if they let you rent more. The down fall of moving mirrors is they can't cover as much area as moving heads. Use what you can get if you can't rent.

    You can defiantly have a lot of fun with it. Club stuff is completely different then theatre, is more smash and trash, with some theatrics here and there. Strobes would be very good, also possibly UV lights for some cool effect too. Spinning color balls are defiantly DJish. Not a fan, but if you can get them, use whatever you can. Experiment and have fun.
     
  5. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    If you can get a few ADJ scanners of some type, you'll be much better off than with moving heads for a dance. Scanners have much faster movements, and will work better for the type of dance that you're doing, as SerraAva said.

    4 "pocket scans" would be nice - A popular model for really low-end rental shops to have for cheap DJ's that want to up their lighting package for that special gig. See if you can lay your hands on a few of them.
     
  6. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the advice. I will definitely incorporate the high to low energy areas, and plead for those moving heads. As of now our lighting expenditure is maxed out. Next year maybe we can get our hands on some cooler gear. This package, the PAR48s, was primarily purchased for the "Coffee House", so the low cost expenditure and more traditional look of conventionals was favored. I hope to add an additional dimmer pack, 9ft stand and PARs to this conventional system, then focus on more effect lighting. I hope to use some of this lighting at other school events, having the administration rent our gear/time, to purchase more.

    Could you elaborate and define the "bump to the beat" method that was earlier described, and on your techniques and how this is done, especially with regards to the intels? Or are you saying I should leave the intels on preprogrammed patterns while giving the illusion of lighting to the beat with the PARs?
     
  7. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Would you be buying, renting, or borrowing the moving heads?

    If you'd be buying, much better off going with cheap scanners.
    If you'd be renting, much better off going with cheap scanners.
    If you'd be borrowing, take what you get.

    Also, if you're light board has an audio input for chases, take advantage of that. Get an audio feed from the DJ, preferably one with even more bass than even the dance floor feed has. It'll make the lights respond better.
     
  8. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    If you are turning off all the other lights in the room make sure there is enough light for people to actually see, if it were my gig I would probably shoot those pars at the cealing and use the bouce for ambient light and use the DJ stuff for the more in your face.
     
  9. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    I do in fact plan to borrow, as they are in the theatre supply room. I'm sure the theatre dept trusts me with 'em, but I believe they actually belong to the dept head's son...? Oh well, I'll really be pullin' for 'em.

    I'm really not sure if the board has an input for chases, it's not clear to me from the manual:

    http://bulbamerica.com/files/PDFs/Documents/Controllers/StageSetter8ch.pdf
     
  10. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    My thoughts exactly on the ambient light, I just wasn't thinking on the "shoot off the ceiling" approach. It is something I'd considered. As a serious question: Do you think they'll have enough punch to get up to the ceiling and down again? I thought --assuming I can get my hands on some cheap-o foggers-- the fog would eat up a lot of the intensity, plus its a gym so its a long way to the ceiling, plus it is a really weird uneven ceiling, with a series of ridges, and some sort of load-bearing steel in the way too. I hoped if I shot the PARs above the dance floor it would provide enough light, especially if I never brought them below 25%. Another option I can look into is getting any sort of other instruments for ambient light, perhaps some type of home lighting fixture.

    Another thing I planned to build, before I remembered I only have 4 dim-able channels of control: A translucent sign with red green and blue bulbs. I thought some color mixing sign in would be cool. It would have a frosted plastic front, to which you could attach black paper with specific words or whatever cut out, so you can re use the sign for any event. I hoped the spill from that sign might add a little to both the atmosphere, and ambient light, but I can't dim it!

    Edit:
    On the sign, maybe I'll make it anyways, and just get some household type dimmers I can plug it into. I could during the dance mess around with the the three dimmers, and if/when we get another dimmer pack it can go on the board.
     
  11. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    See if you can get your hands on some rope lights and/or white christmas lights to put on the walls and around the edges of tables and such. Figure out other ways to add ambient light. Because you're gonna need it in a gym.
     
  12. jonhirsh

    jonhirsh Active Member

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    Looked at the PDF you linked. It does not have a sound input.

    JH
     
  13. SerraAva

    SerraAva Active Member

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    Some movers also have a mic on them, you can set certain things to change with beats to the music, like position, color, strobe, or just stand alone sound mode linked in master slave mode. Saves you from having to gt a console for the moving lights, but also don't have much control for slow songs.
     
  14. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Yea we definitely have a console for 'em too. I'm just reluctant to hand over control to a microphone. I mean I understand that it can move with the music, but I don't want it to be moving to the wrong places.
     
  15. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    if you could get your hands on 1K pars those would do the job a whole lot better, but you can always head down there in advance plug a light in, turn of the lights and point it at the ceiling and see how it looks. Also boo-urns at the people suggesting rope light, IMO nothing looks tackier. You could steal like halogen works from the chop folks/painters wrap some basic color around the cages on them point them at the walls and use that for some ambient light, and that would get you a lot of punch.

    Something like this:
    [​IMG]
     
  16. SerraAva

    SerraAva Active Member

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    I have to disagree, rope light used sparingly can add a really nice effect in certain areas. For example, a good area for it would be where the crowd walks in at. Just says this is where the action is. Just don't go crazy with the stuff and have it everywhere.

    Halogen flood lights I would think would look tacky. Some scoop lights or cyc lights on pipe and base would like better in my opinion. You could even just put the cyc lights on the floor, aimed up or at a wall if you have the ground mounts. I know you said you might be able to grab some stuff from the theatre, don't know what you have in stock there. Fresnels would also work as well.

    Also, totally understand about the hand the show over to a mic thing. I wouldn't want to either. Some fixtures can be set to do stuff to sound through a console. It can be very effective, especially for strobes and fast on beat movements depending on the song. If your board has tap sync, it can also be very effective.
     
  17. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Well yeah I would use cycs lights before floods, but I was opererating under the premis that he listed all the theatre fixtures he would have access to.
     
  18. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Yes, that's about all I can borrow from the theatre dept. As it falls under a different heading, Student Activities, it will be hard, especially because the Student Activities director freaked out and accused all the theatre dept faculty of incompetence after our last assembly. :mad:

    Again, I predict power supply to be an issue as well. Even if I can get my hands on multiple circuits, I'd then need to borrow extension cable from maintenance, who most likely don't have 20amp rated extensions. So that means I'd have to borrow more stuff from the Theatre dept. But without another dimmer pack, it seems kind of pointless.

    I do appreciate the suggestions for ambient light though. It is clear to me now that I'll need something in addition to the PARs. Is the consensus to stay away from the "contractor flood lighting" look? I'd be afraid they'd have too much punch, so I'd gel them with low transmission filters, but those would probably burn out quick!

    On a side note, speaking of gel, are there any colors that are typical of DJ/Club lighting, or psychologically proven to enhance the atmosphere? I was thinking of two instruments as a soft blue, and two as an orange, but I don't have my swatch book in front of me, so I can't confirm anything as of yet.
     
  19. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Who, what, huh?
    Page 9
    What's a chase input anyway?
     
  20. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    avkid, that post was in response to soundlight's post about sound responsive lighting.

     

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